rail trail project updates

Local Sculptor Jenni Ward to install Feast of Flowers along Rail Trail | press | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I made the Santa Cruz City manager’s weekly newsletter this week with my Umbel project for the rail trail! Wahoo!

I am slowly getting closer and closer to actually starting this project, all the contracts are signed, all the forms are filled out and the invoices have been submitted. I’m now only a few weeks away from having the engineering specs and the initial check in hand. Until then, I’m just working on my detailed materials lists, tweaking the timeline of events and hoping things generally go according to plan- fingers crossed!

Getting very excited to start building these babies!

Read the article here…

Need Art? Yes. Yes you do.

Water Droplets | Shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

Have you ever regretted bringing home a new piece of original art? I didn’t think so.

Scans show that viewing art triggered a surge of dopamine, the happy chemical, into the brain, which results in feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. It appeared that the reaction was almost immediate, in that when looking at things we consider to be beautiful, activity in the pleasure reward centre of the brain is increased.

Bridget Watson Payne

hint, hint: I just updated a bunch of stuff and there’s some really sweet pieces in there just waiting to make you happy!


Featured Art: Framed Bone Series

These four pieces have been around the studio for awhile, and were recently featured in my exhibit Bodies of Water, where they hung against this gorgeous blue wall. They are the original versions of the Bone Series where I was focused on the exploration of bone structures and fibrous hole patterns while playing with concepts of fragility, strength and connectivity. These thoughts led to looking at the skeletal structures of radiolarians and the series evolved. Even though these are older pieces, I still love the shadow play and how the steel cables give geometric structure to the organic clay parts.

The rectangles are 48″ x 24″ x 1″ and the squares are 30″ x 30″ x 1″, they can hang flush to the wall or suspended with cables (as seen here) from any direction. All four pieces are available in the online shop.


Big News!

If you didn’t see the big announcement in my monthly email…

I’m thrilled to ~finally~ be able to announce I’m starting a new public art project with Santa Cruz City Arts for the Coastal Rail Trail! This has been in the works for nearly two years and I can’t wait to finally get started on it. I’ll be installing six large scale Umbel flowers along the trail on the far westside of Santa Cruz.

February Studio News | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I’m working with local artists Kirk McNeil who will fabricated the steel structures and Travis Adams who will help me fabricate the ceramic elements. Above is a proposed rendering of the installation, I can’t wait to see these flowers come to life and get planted along the trail. In addition to this good news, I had also applied to win an engineering grant for this project through Berkeley based engineering firm RBHU’s give back grant and I won the grant for pro-bono structural engineering of the installation. So thrilled to work with this creative team.

The studio is about to get super busy so stay tuned!

Adopt a Jellyfish?

Medusa in Bell Jar | Shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

I spend a lot of time in the studio with my sculptures and when I see these Medusas in bell jars sitting up on the shelves, they seem more like pets than sculptures to me. The way they wiggle in their little terrariums and seem to come to life makes me feel like they need names and to be fed daily. I love the sense of movement and playfulness in such fragile forms.

Did you know that jellyfish are actually a type of plankton? Anything that drifts in the ocean is considered part of the plankton family and this series was definitely inspired by the wanderings of these marine drifters. You can adopt one of these jellies for your home and bonus – you get to name it!

Want one? ADOPT HERE

Featured Art: Specimen Series


jenni ward ceramic sculpture | specimen series

I love this little set, it reminds me of lacquered bento boxes with bright red chilies sitting in them and this 3 box set is the last of the series. The Specimen Series started when my collection of bones, shells, seed pods, feathers and other nature bits started piling up in my studio. Every hike, I’d come home with something else to add to the collection. So of course these ideas translated into clay and I started making little clay boxes and filling them with weird little forms that reminded me of all of my collected nature bits.

Each box will sit up on edge or can be hung on the wall arranged vertically or horizontally. This set is on sale for only $200 in the online shop but would make a really colorful addition to a small corner of your home. Shipping within the US or local pick up available. SHOP NOW

Featured Art: Urchin Holes

Bodies of Water Exhibit | Shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

After spending some time exploring the tide pools during our recent King Tides, I had to bring these Urchins Hole sculptures back into the spotlight. They were inspired by the sea urchins natural homes of holes in mudstone rocks visible at very low tides. The holes are actually formed by the urchins themselves, who bite away at the rock with their teeth and slowly sculpt their protected home around them. 

The urchins are hand built, with perforated flanges of very thin, nearly translucent porcelain that are fused to a stoneware ring as it’s protector. The stoneware has a red iron oxide wash on it making them appear to be made of metal instead of clay. Each piece balances on rubber bumps to make sure they don’t scratch your surfaces. And they can be easily cleaned by running them under the tap – check out this video about cleaning your art. All of these pieces are available for shipping within the US or chose local pick up at checkout.

Check out the last four available in the online shop!

NEW Trinket Necklaces in the SHOP!

Trinket Necklace on Display | shop | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture


This limited series of Trinket Necklaces on Display boards debuted at Open Studios this past fall and the remaining pieces are now available in the shop. These thoughtfully crafted pieces made by sculptor Jamie Abbott and myself each come with their own display board so when you’re not wearing them, they can hang like small wall sculptures. Valentines Day is coming and these make great gifts for your sweetheart!


Article Share: Don’t ‘get’ art? You might be looking at it wrong

I came across this gem of an article on the NPR app and thought it would be great to share with you all. I really liked their idea of taking the pressure off of trying to see the whole museum on one visit and instead, taking your time to see a collection or a new exhibit. Also great tips for how to look at and appreciate art that you might just as easily dismiss. Let me know your thoughts….

Many of us would love to have this kind of deep connection when we look at a painting or sculpture, but it can be challenging. Art can feel inaccessible, as if it can only be interpreted by those who know a ton about the subject. And museums can be overwhelming. With thousands of pieces in a collection, how do you know which to focus on? And once you see a piece you like, how do you interact with it?

read full article here

Malaka Gharib/ NPR

Featured Art: Relic Series

Help me make room in the studio for more art!

There are 3 huge Relic Series pieces that are not in the online shop but they are available for pickup! They would look amazing in a zen garden space, accompanying a water feature or nestled into a mossy shade garden. Loops of hand-built stoneware are tied together with sinew and have an red iron wash finish on them giving the surface a metallic look.

They are each approximately 36″ long by 24″ high and about 16″ deep, they have slate stone bases and are all suitable for outdoor display. Make an appointment to come by the studio to see them in person, they are priced at $750 each or $2000 for all three -that’s a huge savings and a great deal! If you need them shipped, I’d be happy to get a quote for you. Also a reminder that there are still 3 mini Relic Series pieces that are in the online shop if you need a smaller version for your space.

Click here to see this original ephemeral installation of these pieces!